Nearly four decades after opening in downtown Chattanooga, the Chattanooga Convention Center has outsourced its catering and banquet services for the first time to a Chicago-based provider specializing in convention catering services.
Levy Premium Food Service was chosen to take over management of meals, concessions and other food operations after submitting the winning bid for the work last fall.
“We’ve operated our own catering services since we opened, which is unusual for most convention centers our size,” Mike Shuford, the mall’s executive director, said in a telephone interview. “But the COVID-19 pandemic has made it very difficult to staff these operations on our own, so we decided to hire a company that has done this in other facilities for years.”
Carter Street Corp., the nonprofit agency that operates the convention center, put the catering contract out to tender last September and selected Levy for the seven-year contract after receiving multiple offers from vendors. similar. Shuford said most of the hundreds of part-time workers hired for short-term roles in the kitchen and serving banquets and other convention events were hired for similar jobs with Levy Food Services “at the same pay. , see more”.
Before the pandemic convention cutbacks, the mall was booking more than $4 million in banquets a year, Shuford said.
When the mall opened in 1985, the Carter Street Corp. solicited food and beverage suppliers to provide the service, but the new facility with no track record attracted few bidders, Shuford said. After the initial construction was under budget, the Carter Street Corp. agreed to use part of her funds to equip the kitchen and manage the banquet services herself.
“Things were working great until COVID hit us a few years ago,” he said. “With fewer bookings, it became very difficult to find enough workers when we had major events.”
Levy Premium Food Service offers similar dishes at Georgia World Center in Atlanta and Titans Stadium in Nashville, among many other accounts across the country. The new contract took effect on January 1 and Shuford said “so far everything has worked out well.”
Contact Dave Flessner at [email protected] or 423-757-6340.